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James Joyce Biography & Life Story

James Joyce
James Joyce

James Joyce Quick Fact:

Also Known As: James Augustine Aloysius Joyce

Birth: February 2, 1882

Born In: Rathgar, Dublin

Nationality: Irish

Famous as: Writer

Spouse: Nora

Children: Lucia

Died At Age: 58

Died On: January 13, 1941

Place of Death: Zürich

City: Dublin, Ireland

Diseases & Disabilities: Visual Impairment

Biography of James Joyce:

One of the most influential writers in the early part of the 20th century, James Joyce, was an Irish poet, short story writer, novelist and playwright. His modernist, exceptional and unusual work was focused on literary innovation, narrative and indirect style. He used to experiment with language in his work and many technical discoveries also made by him in the art of novel writing, like the use of interior monologue. His famous works are, “Finnegans”, “Wake”, “Dubliners”, “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” and “Pomes Penyeach”. He was also published three poetry books and was a journalized too. He was passionate about writing and literature since his childhood and loved to read also. Joyce is best known for his most famous work “Ulysses”, published in 1922.

Childhood and Early life of James Joyce:

On February 2, 1882, James Augustine Aloysius Joyce, also known as James Joyce, was born in Rathgar, a suburban part of Dublin, Ireland. He was the eldest child of ten in his family. His father was John Stanislaus Joyce, and his mother was Mary Jane May Murray. His father, the senior Joyce was an alcoholic, spent much of his time and money in drinking and did not take any care of the family. Because of his drinking habit, he loses all the funds for family and this led them to poverty. Joyce as a young child was very passionate about writing and literature. He would read like a voracious. Even, to read Henrik Ibsen’s plays, he managed to learn Norwegian all by himself. He went to the Clongowes Wood College in 1888, but due to lack of funds, he had to leave the college. Later, he went to the O’Connell School and then Belvedere College. Finally, from the University College Dublin, he graduated with an art degree. For the first time in 1900, his work was published in ‘Fortnightly Review’. He had authored a review article of Henrik Ibsen’s ‘When We Dead Awaken’ for the journal. In 1902, after completing his graduation, he went to Paris to continue his further studies in the field of medicine. However, he was difficult for him to understand the French lectures, so he came back to Ireland to see his mother whose health condition was very poor that time.

Work Life of James Joyce:

He moved to Zurich, Switzerland in 1904 and then went to the Italian seaport city of Trieste where he taught English. In May 1907, he published a book, collection of 36 poems, based on the theme of love, which was named “Chamber Music”. In 1909, he started to look for publishers and he continued to write and work on the manuscript of his book, “Dubliners”. He also opened a cinema house named, ‘Volta Cinematograph’. He published “Dubliners” in1914. “Dubliners” was a collection of short stories and the stories are carefully analyzed about the Dublin society during the early 20th century. His first novel “A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man” came out in 1916. Unfortunately, it was not commercially successful though it had a sort of coming-of-age plot. However, because of his style of writing he earned praise. He wrote a play named “Exiles” in 1918, based on the life of an acclaimed writer who spend nine years in exile and then comes back to Dublin. One of his short stories inspired him to write this play. In the magazine named, ‘The Little Review’ James published his novel “Ulysses” around 1918. Because of alleged explicit content, the publication faced many censorship problems. In 1922, Sylvia Beach, owned the well-known bookshop, ‘Shakespeare and Company’, published James Modernist novel, “Ulysses”. An English version of this novel was published but it again faced the censorship problems. This book gained a lot of criticism but at the same time, for his style of writing it also earned praise. James Joyce published his book of poems, which is a collection of thirteen short poems named “Pomes Penyeach” in 1927. It took him twenty years to complete this collection of poems. He published his comic work named “Finnegans Wake” in 1939. This work of him is known as one of the most difficult works of fiction to read and for its experimental style.

Major Works of James Joyce:

His book, “Finnegans Wake” is considered one of the best works of English literature. On the Modern Library (an American publishing house) list of ‘100 best English-language novels, it was ranked number 77 of the 20th century’. In the genre of modernist literature, his novel, “Ulysses” is revered as one of the most significant work and in the list of ‘100 best English-language novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library It was ranked number one.

Personal Life & Legacy of James Joyce:

In his childhood, he was suffering from cynophobia and that continued throughout his life. He was also suffered from Astraphobia, fear of thunder and lightning. James Joyce met a woman in 1904 named Nora Barnacle. At that time, she was working as a chamber maid. Later, they eloped and eventually got married and had two children. Around 1920, his health started affected by his eye problems. He was underwent a surgery for this problem. He had suffered from schizophrenia too. In 1941, he went through a surgery for his perforated ulcer. However, he showed signs of recovery but he went into a severe coma and died the following day. He was buried at the Fluntern Cemetery near Zurich Zoo. He was named one of the ‘100 Most Important People of the 20th century’ by ‘Time’ magazine in 1999.

Notable Works of James Joyce:

  • Ulysses
  • Finnegans Wake
  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
  • Dubliners
  • The Dead

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